By Nell Freudenberger
Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95, 337 pages
In The Newlyweds, Nell Freudenberger offers a nuanced portrait of marriage, family and culture in the 21st century. Amina Mazid, a young woman from Dhaka, Bangladesh, meets her American husband George Stillman on the online dating site AsianEuro.com. A year and a half later, Amina is adjusting to married life in Rochester, New York. She’s also dealing with everyday prejudices and the loneliness of living in a foreign land. After getting a job, Amina is determined to acquire her citizenship as quickly as possible and focuses all her energy on saving up enough money to bring her parents to live with her. Along the way, she learns to cope with George’s shortcomings and discovers some startling secrets about George and his family. Despite what she finds out, Amina returns to Bangladesh to pick up her parents, only to realize that her father is in deep trouble and her first love may still lay claim to her heart. Freudenberger weaves a witty and, at times, heartbreaking tale of love, loss and hope, and readers will relish this clever examination of immigration and married life.
Reviewed by Laura Di Giovine